The February term grand jury is concerned about Liberty Regional Medical Center, as was the previous grand jury … and the one before that.
The first paragraph of the presentments handed down this week said, "There continues to be concern over the operation of Liberty Regional Medical Center."
Grand jurors met with Liberty County Hospital Authority Chairman Jon Long to discuss budget shortfalls and a situation involving Dr. Glenn Carter.
The five-year dispute between the hospital and Carter began when Carter's hospital privileges were revoked in April 2002 for unspecified reasons. The authority and hospital officials consistently have said they are unable to reveal their motives.
Receiving little information from Long, the grand jury continued its investigation and included some details in its presentments.
According to the grand jury, a fair hearing committee of two doctors, a nurse and two Liberty County residents was appointed in 2003 to review the privilege revocation. After considering evidence, the committee unanimously recommended Carter be reinstated, with the condition that he comply with LRMC policies and procedures.
The presentments say, "To date the LRMC has not attempted to follow the recommendations of the fair hearing committee."
The grand jurors recommend the fair hearing provisions be made binding or be abolished.
On the financial front, the grand jurors noted that Long reported revenue increases of 35 percent from Medicare, 18 percent from Medicaid, 99 percent from the Georgia Indigent Care Trust Fund and 16 percent from other contract adjustments.
Other than patient care, revenue increased 202 percent from pain management services rental income and 36 percent from medical office building rental.
After meeting with Tax Commissioner Virgil Jones, the grand jury included in its presentments three pages of question-and-answer information for taxpayers.
The tax information and the full presentments are available online at www.libertyco.com/GJ%20Presentments.htm.